Carolyn Parcheta

Carolyn Parcheta

Postdoctoral Fellow

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Pasadena, CA USA

If there’s something that you want to do all the time, you’ll find a way to make a living out of it.


By Roadtrip Nation

Carolyn Parcheta


My road in life has been direct.
Has loved volcanoes since she was a young child; even won an elementary-school science fair with a volcano she’d built.
Even as she got older, every time she saw a TV show or a magazine article about volcanoes, she was interested.
When she was in high school, everyone started saying, “Follow your dreams,” so she thought, “Why not?”
Spent five years on Hawaii doing research for her Ph.D. in physical volcanology.
Says that getting your Ph.D. proves to people that you can think independently, you can learn on the fly, and you can solve problems.
While she was in Hawaii, she watched lava rising out of a crack in the ground and became obsessed with the question, “What’s down there? What’s below that crack?”
From those initial questions, she was able to present the scientific benefits of knowing what was inside of volcanoes to NASA, who decided to fund her project.
Taught herself everything she needed to know about coding and robotics by asking “almost 100 questions a day” and taking online classes on her own time.
Keep following my journey


Postdoctoral Fellow

I design robots to accurately document, map, and measure the structure and geometry of volcanic vents.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Environment & Nature
Building Things

Interviewed By

Anonymous Student